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College Success: First Year Seminar's Effectiveness on Freshmen Academic and Social Integration, Impact on Academic Achievement and Retention at a Southern Institution
Increasing student retention and improving graduation rates continues to remain a critical issue for undergraduate institutions. Previous research suggests that student attrition is predominantly voluntary, and is influenced by institutional characteristics. The importance of academic and social integration as a strategy to reduce attrition is achieved with peer and faculty interactions (Tinto, 2002; Astin, 1993). First Year Seminars (FYS), designed to help students in their transition and promote such interactions, are in place at many higher education institutions. The purpose of this ex-post-facto, sequential mixed- methods study is to ascertain the influence of FYS attendance on student integration, academic achievement, and retention.^ This study focused on a voluntary, not for credit sample of freshman (N = 99) participants who responded to an online survey. Respondents were assigned to two groups, Group A attended 5 or less (n = 37) and Group B (n = 62) attended six or more sessions.^ Data analysis revealed that while the mean scores for Group B were greater than Group A, there were no statistical differences in the academic integration between Group A (M = 5.12, SD = 1.58) and Group B (M = 5.39, SD = 1.31); t = (95) = -.919, p = .176. Social integration measures provided similar results, Group A (M = 5.35, SD = 1.34) and Group B (M = 5.66, SD = 1.12), t = (96) = -1.206, p =.267. GPA comparisons between Group A ( M = 2.90, SD = 0.724) and Group B (M = 3.00, SD = 0.078), t (97) = -0.745, p = 0.46 reported no statistical differences. Retention for Group B (75.8%) was higher than Group A (64.9%); but chi-square analysis revealed no significant statistical differences X2 (1, n = 99), P = 0.24. Results of the regression analysis found no statistical significance of academic, social integration, and GPA contributing to retention.^ Qualitative analysis revealed that Group B's attendance in FYS provided them greater opportunities for campus involvement, whereas Group A cited the non-mandatory nature of the course and lack of credit as to why they did not attend. Results provide higher education personnel with a greater understanding of the First Year Seminar and its institutional value. ^
Malik, Tarun, "College Success: First Year Seminar's Effectiveness on Freshmen Academic and Social Integration, Impact on Academic Achievement and Retention at a Southern Institution" (2011). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3439885.